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A Funny Thing Happened Down Goodison Way?

By Nick Entwistle :  08/02/2009 :  Comments (42) :
A usually expectant Goodison crowd would be tinged with the worry of dropping points. Knowing that this Everton team can easily bring on a win, lose or draw in equal measure at Goodison this season, this delivers a certain level of diminished expectancy, if unchallenged hope.

But when the Goodison faithful start with the Oles, then you know something is out of kilter with the way the world turns on the Blue side of Liverpool. When does a David Moyes team ever come near to the cause and effect of inciting such a reaction from a crowd? Normally the cause and effect is knowing that at any moment shit will be hitting the fan.

Saturday though was different, for something has changed in the minds of the Blues on and off the pitch. Before and during the game this effect was like nothing I have ever witnessed with Everton. Everything had reached a new level. The atmosphere was akin to being champions elect and the formality of victory, to be earned sure, was coming this way all the same. Everton were going to win, they were just a better team than Bolton and everybody, including them, knew it. When was the last time Goodison had this feeling? The 80s?

Five games against Europe?s elite and we were their equals in all of them. This transcended Everton?s reputation from European hopefuls to their re-emergence as a force in world football. That is without irony. It was in the air. You could sense it, you could touch it, you could breath it in, let it fill your lungs and permeate throughout your body. And all this from my laptop! What it was like to be there, I can only imagine. This may just be an in house belief presently but it spread through to the opposition camp as well.

From The Concise 48 Laws of Power by Robert Green it is said about reputation:

?Reputation is the cornerstone of power. Through reputation you can intimidate and win. Make your reputation unassailable. A solid reputation increases your presence and exaggerates your strengths without your having to spend much energy. It can also create an aura around you that will install respect, even fear?.

The Bolton players today showed what reputation does to the opposition. Everton were no longer a top half team, they were on another level arrived from a victory Bolton will have witnessed on their TV sets. Everton had proved to be of a calibre they could only dream of and in their eyes this new found reputation gave the Blues an increased presence, and allowed them to exaggerate their strengths. Bolton were giving Everton this allowance of time and space through the sheer aura that was resonating from Goodison. This energy was in the stands and it was in the players. It may only be fractions of a second or a half step away but that?s enough. How many people believe Ronaldo would not have the effect he delivers every game if players actually got stuck in? They stand away from him, scared of his reputation as he receives the ball and then wait for his choice of action and only then do they react.

Those who believe the ?Big Four? is just a myth that can be beaten with a change of attitude, this was your defining example. But the example showed the power of the myth cemented through reputation. Not only did Everton have the capabilities to play joined-up football, pass and move football, total football (steady there?), they were simply allowed to by Bolton. Everton?s reputation demanded they do this. Even the referee in an otherwise outstanding performance felt our new big-team reputation and did what referees do in such circumstances and allowed a Ronaldo style dive to be worthy of a penalty (but please Jo, stay on your feet!).

All of this though would not have happened if not for one moment. And if it did not happen, if that effort did not go in, if Fellaini had played better, had television screens not been graced by minty fresh Tic-tacs, it would have been a season where sixth position became Everton?s only possible reward. History can change on such moments.

It is certainly possible that Dan Gosling?s goal will have an effect similar to that of Kevin Brock. Who now feels, like I had submitted after the Arsenal game, Everton are not possible contenders for champions league qualification? And who now feels the impossible is nothing? This could be that moment in David Moyes? tenure that Blues have been waiting for. From top 6 hopefuls to Everton FC, Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.

The time has come to refocus efforts from a five game mini series against the Big 4 teams and to take on the point deficit and fight for that top 4 target. It is a big gap to over come and it is not going to be easy, but nothing worth having ever is. And that people, that is sport.

Everton lifted themselves on one moment sent from the footballing Gods to play the following match with a performance of guile, flair, professionalism and prowess. It is up to the team, the management and the fans to run with it until triumph is assured.

Football Focus mentioned Everton twice on Saturday. Once as the team Liverpool had lost to in midweek, and the second being the team Bolton were playing. What they have overlooked, with their editorial decisions to focus on Mascherano and Kean?s return to Spurs is that Everton have created the perfect storm allowing this cash-strapped, unfashionable, ignored, fallen giant to make those untouchable realms of Champions League possible.

Be it by fault or by design Everton have a solid starting XI that can be assured of levels of performance needed to play and beat the best. Everton have had David Moyes (for good or for bad) enter into the field of media mind games with cunning, and success. Add into the mix a kid from a small fishing port in Devon whose name was sang out, echoing through Goodison Park in celebration. A salute to, not a hero of the hour, but to someone already close to legend status.

We have a born and bred Blue in Rodwell, who at 17 could be making Everton appearances for 20 years. There is the gradual and as yet highly successful reintroduction of a once talismanic Andy van der Meyde who not yet 30 brings with him the wild card option and a potential of wing play not seen since Andrei Kanchelskis.

Watch out for the official website soon to be quoting David Moyes with ?They?re like new signings?!

Everton also have an all English back four who are making a mockery of the world?s finest attackers. The overlapping skills of Baines, the colossal partnership of Lescott and Jagielka nullifying all that come their way. And Hibbert, the much maligned Tony Hibbert. Not since the days of Stuart Pearce have I viewed anyone who takes personal offence to any man who believes he can get past him to deliver a cross. That is what he does, that is why he is in the team, and that is why Ronaldo changed wings.

Credit must go to Moyes for this defensive unit. In addition Everton have a Brazilian forward, quick, skillful, industrious (I swear with that hair and making tackles in midfield, I thought Fellaini was on for the first ten minutes), marking his excellent debut and leading the line with two goals. It would have been very much Everton for the Jo?s penalty to be missed, but dispatched it was. Of course it was! Arteta is back on form, Cahill our true talisman raising every player?s game, players coming back from injury and now a run of league fixtures on paper as easy as the last five were difficult.

The fixture list once again is playing into Everton?s hands in more way than one. This Sunday sees the return on Aston Villa to Goodison in the cup. This game will not just be about the FA Cup, but the competition for 4th spot. To play this team off the park could make a profound shift in league form for the team from Birmingham. Wednesday saw Everton severely dent Liverpool?s season with cup victory, now is the time to dent Villa?s too and finish ours with aplomb.

In my last article A Season in the Sun, I was wishing for a special time to be enjoyed before, during and after it has happened. I think this could put a stop to those years of waiting. Everton are raising their game and I can?t wait for the ride!

To finish I would like to again quote Robert Green?s The Concise 48 Laws of Power. Why don?t you see if you can guess whom I may be referring to?

'The mighty lion toys with the mouse that crosses his path ? any other reaction would mar his fearsome reputation. Once it is solid, do not let yourself get angry or defensive? that reveals insecurity. Never appear desperate in your self-defence. You must not engage in petty vengeance. If you do not break your enemy?s reputation cleverly, you will inadvertently ruin your own'.

Una cerveza por favor!

Reader Comments

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Trevor Lynes
1   Posted 09/02/2009 at 07:25:57

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The display against a poor Bolton side was reminiscent of the football played week in and week out during the sixties when we had Vernon, Young, Collins, Ring etc up front.... Vernon would have had a hat trick against Bolton no problem!! We are not yet at that level on a consistent basis and I reserve judgement. Again, if you never saw the players I have just mentioned I cannot blame you for being euphoric because titles have not come our way for yonks!!

Man Utd have emerged since money became the prime mover and the Premier League evolved. In the days when football was played on a level playing field, Liverpool and Everton reigned supreme and we had the most title and trophy winning city in England. I cannot ever remember Manchester having teams that finished top and 2nd ... so we have topped whatever they have achieved as a city. Man Utd were in the wilderness as far as titles from 1967 until 1994 but that is never mentioned by the pundits.

History started with the Premier League for those that like to manipulate statistics. Everton have won more titles than the north east sides put together and between Liverpool and ourselves the city has won 27 top division titles.

I am a dyed in the wool Evertonian since 1948 and I have worked abroad since 1980 so I love to crow about our city teams and I have converted lots of Arabs and Africans to be Evertonians. Many now wear EFC shirts I have given them to watch the footy on TV.

I just write this to temper the euphoria as ?every dog will have his day? just hope that we remain consistent and fulfill our potential and supporters ambitions.

Good article though, congratulations.

Gareth Humphreys
2   Posted 09/02/2009 at 08:28:48

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Nick, A good positive article. Bolton weren?t much and anything other than 3 points would have been a big let down after the last 5 fixtures. I think the run we have been is a good indicator of where we are ? better than most of the teams in the league, able to give the big boys a game at Goodison but a million miles behing Man Utd ? who isn?t though???

As it stands, if we are to qualify for Europe through the league, we need to be in the top 5 ? I think there are 4 teams going for 3 places (top 2 sorted me thinks). It's going to need one hell of a run to get even a Uefa Cup spot; however, the fixtures are kind to us and trips to Villa Park and Stamford Bridge must be viewed as opportunities to close the gap if we are to stand any chance.

Gary Creaney
3   Posted 09/02/2009 at 09:44:25

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Sometimes positive articles like this are inappropriate and something closer to the negativity of Tony Marsh (where is he by the way?) is more in line.
However, I feel that this article is totally appropriate for our current situation. I’m not accusing you of getting carried away at all, but what would be wrong if we as fans did get carried away, if we dreamt of winning the title in the next 2 or 3 years, if we dreamt of consistent CL qualification in the next 3 or 4 years. Seriously how far beyond us is this? In my opinion... within reach.

We’ve seen where a bit of luck can take a team no better than ourselves... Villa are within touching distance of a CL spot and not too far off 1st place to boot.

Looking at our starting team on Saturday past, barring injuries we could have had a bench of Yobo, Fellaini, Pienaar, Yak, Saha, Vaughan, Rodwell, VdM. Yet the 11 we did start were able to demolish, outplay and outclass another premier league team. We’re 3 good players short of having a perfectly sized capable squad. A squad not to big to enforce constant rotation and big enough to cope on 3 or 4 fronts.

We’ve also managed to escape through a barrage of fixtures with only 1 narrow defeat to the ’World Champions’. A victory over Arsenal would have made it all the sweeter as we’d be above them now but now is the time to progress to the QFs of the cup and mount a serious challenge for 4th spot.

Last season we camped in 4th spot for an extended period of time only for a season to hit the wall after the Fiorentina penalty defeat.
This team right now, in our current form and with the options on the bench is better than last season. Only for a farcical June-September period we’d be occupying the CL places right now.

Kevin Gillen
4   Posted 09/02/2009 at 10:14:33

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Brilliant article. I just hope we can sustain our improvement and get the results we deserve in the run-in to both win the FA Cup and qualify for the Champions league. I really think only United are above us at the moment in terms of quality and effectiveness, we’ll know a little bit more after the Villa game next week.
Chris Jones (Wakefield)
5   Posted 09/02/2009 at 10:34:02

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Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the game against Bolton so I don’t know for sure if it was a case of us being really fabulous or Bolton (as some newspaper reports have suggested) being shite? So, however, we did have a run of 5 games against top opposition and only lost one (by a penalty) and dumped another out of the Cup.

And so I look at our remaining league fixtures. Villa and Chelsea away won’t be easy but I have to say that with the way we’ve been playing, every one of our remaning fixtures is winnable. COYBB!
Michael Coffey
6   Posted 09/02/2009 at 10:47:15

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The Sky 4 could do worse than take a look at the Book of Job, Chapter 24

"...though they have become established
they have no assurance of life.
He may let them rest in a feeling of security,
but his eyes are on their ways.
For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone;
they are brought low and gathered up like all the others"
Christine Foster
7   Posted 09/02/2009 at 11:01:44

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A good article Nick, great read too. I confess to being puzzled by the attitude of some fans who think it was more a case of Bolton playing badly, I must have been watching another game, either that or I was drunk but I think that was later.

I remember the days of Young / Vernon and yes Trevor it was the norm then but it isn?t hasn?t been that way for 20 years.

But people are missing the point. We played football the way we (the fans) believe we should. How often in the past 20 years has THAT happened??

Not only that but we MADE Bolton look bad. For me it was one of the first times this season I have watched a game that for 75 mins we not only dominated but gave a football lesson.

The sort of thing that has happened to us quite a few uncomfortable times in the past decade.

We deserve to be 6th because of the dreadful start and it would be a crying shame if that was the telling analysis when it comes to the end of the season and the difference between 6th and 4th.

We will make our own luck if we continue to play this way. Just as Villa have rode theirs.
Lee Hind
8   Posted 09/02/2009 at 11:13:10

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Chris Jones ? it was a bit of both... Bolton were poor but, you can only play what is in front of you and we played them off the park.

Nick, a great article, very nice to see something so positive here.

The sky's the limit... COYB
Dan Sedlak
9   Posted 09/02/2009 at 11:12:37

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Stuart Hall-esque.
Tony Williams
10   Posted 09/02/2009 at 11:56:31

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I was there and can say it was a little of both, Bolton were absolutely awful, the only attack they had was to punt it up to the meat heads up front and hope, reminiscent of our darker days.

They were crap, they knew it, we knew it and so does their manager. Read his quotes after the game, he was right, if they played like that for the rest of the season they would be relegated.

I mentioned to my mates at half time that there was no way that Bolton would play that poorly in the second half....I was wrong and due to this our team grew in stature and started to pass the ball around sublimely.

We looked good but they were shite so even an optimist like me will not go over the top with this result.
Robbie Muldoon
11   Posted 09/02/2009 at 12:10:26

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We have effectively regained the form and performance levels that we had about 12 months ago.

About fucking time!
Tim Keen
12   Posted 09/02/2009 at 12:24:49

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That, "we will win it is just a question of by how many" feeling is great. The most I have ever felt it is in the 95 cup winning season's home game against Norwich. I just woke up knowing we?d win, everybody was celebrating reaching the quarter finals even before we?d kicked off. It was 5-0 in the end and Duncan walloped one in off the underside of the bar.
Clyde McPhat
13   Posted 09/02/2009 at 12:44:43

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Why is it that the other team plays so poorly when the opponent is Everton? The RS didn?t play well in the 3 matches over the last two weeks? Bolton was shite? United was below par?

Nothing about the way we play, ever. C?mon, give us some fuckin? credit.
Dave Whitwell
14   Posted 09/02/2009 at 12:44:25

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It?s very easy for Megson to come out after the game and say that was the worst they have played for some time, and for that to take the gloss way from our victory. Indeed on Wednesday acording to the media the only reason we won is because Gerrard went off, Torres was not fit and Lucas sent off, forgetting off course that we won the right to replay without Arteta, Saha, Vaughan, Yakubu, Felliani, against there strongest eleven.

Make no mistake, beating any Premier league side these days in the manner we did on Saturday says more about the winning team playing well and the losers playing badly. In this league every side is physically fit and well organised. We took the game to them from the first whistle were brimming with confidence, passed the ball well and created a host of chances.

Despite all of that it was one day, the challenge for our guys is to produce those performances for the remainder of the season, without tailing off. If we can do that then hopefully we will have something more than 6th spot to celebrate come June.
Phil Bellis
15   Posted 09/02/2009 at 13:02:13

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Well said, Clyde. I liked the Arsenal fan?s report where he wrote he was watching on TV in Asia and was puzzled why Arsenal were wearing a Royal Blue away strip... until the penny dropped.
Paul Connell
16   Posted 09/02/2009 at 13:54:34

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There is room for 2 points of view in all matters. Bolton were and our shit., However they will go to other prem sides and set up exactly the same and make it difficult, even cause problems. This is because the sides they face will not have the craft, skill and defensive capabilities displayed by Everton on Saturday.

So there is plenty to get carried away with especially given the players to come back. This team has the capability to finish the season in title winning form, no doubt. This is what it will take to even challenge for 4th. I?ve maintained all year and still do that Villa will have a bad patch and drop alot of points. Arsenal will continue to be dodgy away.

Despite this the deficit still leaves us needing to win 10/11 games from the remaining 13 to get above 70 points to have a chance. Again possible but the truth is it's going to be difficult and will require us to step up a level even on the form weve produced in the last 2 months.

The cup is important, weve already seen with Everton the more fixtures we have the more momentum we gain the better the league form.

Sunday is another massive chapter, anything is possible if we get through. Its time to put lucky Villa in their place.

It's time to believe.
Alan Kirwin
17   Posted 09/02/2009 at 14:35:49

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Excellent read Nick.

It?s almost shameful the way the media stacks up. And dispiriting and unfair the way we are deemed of less interest than Spurs, Man City and Newcastle. But we do have friends, invariably amongst the finer reporters & pundits.

This season we have transmogrified from Frankenstein (Aug-Oct) into Scarlett Johansson. We are entering an extraordinary phase with 4 pillars of hope, namely resolve, confidence, style and togetherness. Add to that a manager who is also beginning to excel on all fronts and we are rocking.

Lee Dixon is about as insightful, objective and interesting a pundit as they come. On MOD2 yesterday he moved upwards, taking Adrian Chiles? question about the top 5 and who?ll win the league and responding with an Everton eulogy. In Lee?s words "Everton are the team of the moment and deserve massive praise for what they?ve done.". By implication he was saying, "don?t rule them out".

I have stepped back from preferring to eat my own pancreas than watch Everton (Aug-Oct) and now find myself checking out the odds on us winning the premier league next season. You may have noticed that there has often been a gap of 15 - 20 years between periods of Everton supremacy. Despite the financial imbalances of the Sky 4 (and Man City) something seems to be stirring in L4.

If nothing else this buzz might just put a temporary stop to the constant stream of vacuously boringly repetitive anti-Kenwright posts, all because he can?t put £500m of his own money in or find a friend to do similar.

What we currently have, money can?t buy.
Ray Roche
18   Posted 09/02/2009 at 15:25:51

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Trevor Lynes, You say, "I cannot ever remember Manchester having teams that finished top and 2nd ... so we have topped whatever they have achieved as a city". Sorry mate, in 1967-68 City came top with 58pts and Utd second with 56. Don?t want to appear a smart arse, just don?t want to see you stating that in a bar-room argument and having some smug Manc putting you right.
Scott Montgomery
19   Posted 09/02/2009 at 16:58:03

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I saw the result of the match on Saturday afternoon and was very happy with the scoreline considering my fears that exertions midweek would cause a stale, flat performance. I didn't get to watch the match until the evening on Football First and for 1 beautiful hour I saw an Everton team pass another team off the field.

Intricate byplay, accurate and dangerous crosses flying in from both wings and a solid unflappable defense. It's not getting carried away to say that I enjoyed that Everton performance more than any other in the last few years. I hope its a sign of things to come and they we are able to maintain a high standard of football until the end of the season.

Micky Norman
20   Posted 09/02/2009 at 17:35:54

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Fantastic optimism here but just remember... we are Everton and shit happens. We?re not all as confident. Savour this feeling while its around. But can someone please tell the knobhead who sits in front of me in the paddock to have a bit of optimism and stop screaming abuse at our players. Arteta pulls the ball out of a spinning challenge near the half way line, jinks past two players and lays the ball off to Neville. This tosser screams "for fuck?s sake Arteta get the ball forward!" Maybe old habits die hard.
Jon J Cox
21   Posted 09/02/2009 at 17:32:15

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Great read, Nick,

On Saturday we played what I regard as the best football we have played for years even better, than the second half against Man U.

Can anyone or does anyone remember a couple of seasons back when we were away to Crystal Palace when we played the more incisive, accurate, precision football that we had ever played under our Davey.

For me that game was an indicator as to what David Moyes has always wanted in his style of football for us blues.

I like others am sick an tired of the so called experts telling the nation just how bad teams play when it?s a formidable Everton performance. Ok I suppose we?ll just have to put up with it now, but come the time when we are season after season in the top four (or two) then they will never be able to ignore us.

Get ready for more of the Sir Alex apprentice in terms of the shite meeja interviews.

English Premier League be afraid be very afraid no-one can hear you scream on a football pitch especially fortress Goodison.
Karl Masters
22   Posted 09/02/2009 at 18:37:30

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I have said it before and I ’ll say it again:

It’s our turn to win the League in 2011!

1891, 1915, 1939, 1963, 1987.......

It’s written in the stars that this most special institution will take home a Championship title every 24 years.

If you don’t aim high.........

Great article, Nick!
Micky Norman
23   Posted 09/02/2009 at 19:18:27

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Just after Gravesen left and I think it was Artetas 3rd game, we went to Villa and were awesome, winning 3-1. Absolutely outclassed them with pass and move football. I’d settle for that at the weekend. One game at a time guys.
Ray Robinson
24   Posted 09/02/2009 at 20:04:04

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Karl Masters, I hope you’re right. What happened in 1970 and 1985 then? A statistical aberration?
Victor Johnson
25   Posted 09/02/2009 at 20:33:30

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How about the old nugget by Andre Gide (French novelist)

"Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it".

In other words, keep thyself under thine control.
Peter Hall
26   Posted 09/02/2009 at 22:46:04

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In October I said we were nailed on for sixth because of the levels we have consistently achieved, and despite our awful start. No-one else could do this except for the Sky 4 and Villa, so I was sure. Lots of you said you’d be pleased if we avoided a relegation fight

At Goodison on Saturday I saw a vision of next year, and full marks to Nick for heralding it.

Next year we will be top four. And maybe better. There’s quality all over the pitch.

We used to say that one or two of our lads might get into a top 4 team. Now only the great names would walk into our team. Back 4 - Vidic maybe - Ferdinand yes - but they wouldn’t improve the team much. Nobody else a chance, and Joey Yobo on the bench - Jesus!

Baines could be a legend. Hibbert is proving us all wrong. Cap’n Pip at right back - or - god help us - a competent water-carrier for the Spanish genius who is now playing the Fabregas role - but better.

Arteta is a legend. Fellaini, Pienaar, Osmond, Gosling, all work so well.

And something up front - if they all got fit we could play half a team of strikers - OK we can’t keep them all for lack of money.

I’ve dropped Tiny Tim for his glaring miss in the first minute. No - only joking Tim - Mr. Cahill too.

Wow - bloody hell!
Paul Smart
27   Posted 09/02/2009 at 23:47:52

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Ok, so I have drank a bottle of red wine before reading this smashin article, but as I read through it blurry eyed, I found myself nodding in agreement to pretty much everything that came out, I’m of the optimist variety of blue noses and always think, this is our time, but I have never felt moreso than now, I dont mean this year or next, but we seem to improve year on year out with Moyes, you have to give credit where it is due.

Moyes has taken us from a bottom 6 team to a top 6 team in 5 years with a championship budget.

Kenwright has his doubters in how far he can take our beloved club and that is purely down to how big the fella’s pockets are, you cant doubt his enthusiasm tho and he wears his heart on his sleave and is as blue as you and you....

Everyone is impatient these days in football, just look at the latest managers to be sacked with less then a season gone, as we have seen in the past with our quick exchange of managers after the Kendall/Walker/Royal/Kendall/Smith and then thankfully Moyes... It only disrupts an upsets the rhythm of the team and club.

With an eccentric yet skint but logical Chairman, he has gave the time and trust for the manager to do his job, and 6 years on we are seeing the benefits of that, slowly but surely.

I am 28yrs old, I was too young to remember the good ole 80’s, I started going early 90’s with school mates bunking in or gettin in for the last 15 mins...

Although the successful spell with Royal and confusing early departure, the FA cup in 95 was the only ’success’ I truely got to wittness.. the other part was dog o war fighting for our lives to stay in the top competition....

Under Moyes I have had my best years as an Evertonian, mad as we have yet to win any silverware, but we are not far off that, and Davey has brought in a youthfull side (homegrown talent included) to be a force for years to come, One Major signing a year, we have done it in the most dignified and traditional way, when we reach the hights of winnings tropheys, we will have done it without selling our souls and can continue to be proud to be a blue....
Bob Parrington
28   Posted 10/02/2009 at 01:45:08

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Don’t ya just Luv it!?
Martin Downey
29   Posted 10/02/2009 at 00:55:56

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It?s really annoying, but it looks as though our dishevelled start t to the season will mean we may end it in more glorious underachievement.

Of course, we will always remember 2008-09 as the season we put the Reds out of the Cup in a passionate pressure cooker at Goodison, and hey, if that?s as good as it gets, well, it could be worse.

But something tangibly tantalising is brewing in Evertonia ? we?re so close! Even the inexplicable of all possible plaudits, Lee Dixon opined us as the ?team of the moment? on Match of The Day (2) last night. And you know what? I?m allowing myself (against all previous wisdom gained as an Evertonian) to begin to believe he?s right!

In the League Cup Final replay of 1984, Kevin Radcliife went (unusually, even for him and after some assured defending by all) on a surging run from the edge of our box, past Souness and other assorted thugs, well into their half before laying it off to Richardson, or maybe it was Steven, on the wing. It was just a small episode in the game, nothing totally spectacular and we didn?t score from it, but it was a passage of play from a team that was starting to believe it was a good team, maybe even a great team, and you could feel it.

Of late there?s something about the way we handled the games against Liverpool, Arsenal, Man U and latterly Bolton, that was reminiscent of the green shoots of dominance which were seen on that, ultimately disappointing day in 1984. (It may have been at Maine Road, but please correct my memory if I misrecollect).

It?s hard not to feel that we?re not a match for anyone now and I do sense we?re going to have a good run in. But will we be ruing the losses against Blackburn, Portsmouth, the draws against the barcodes and Muddlesborough? That would be really frustrating. Particularly as all threeof them may end up relegated!! Then again, I suppose we might have to settle for winning the cup!!!

But it?s mad to think that after our wretched start to the season, it really is great to be waiting now with such hope for its remainder. Surely only Everton can do this to you!!!! Love it!

And thanks, Nick. An inspirational article.

Derek Thomas
30   Posted 10/02/2009 at 04:06:11

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So to sum up, what do we have? Green shoots and a certain feeling.

Too right that feeling, that was there in 63 Vs Spurs, no if ands or buts we WILL win. 69 a pre season game Vs Dundee we went a goal down and laughed it off 4-1. 84, we gave them a 2 game start and had it won with 5 to go. 85 even when we gave up an away goal Vs Bayern, we KNEW that it was only a matter of time.

Some body once wrote on here about getting them young and getting them in the habit. Think of all the players of yesteryear from all points N.S.E.W. who still come back as one of us. Jo could well be in that catagory he has had the atmosphere from the side line on Wed and the on pitch high on Sat... HOOKED.

This team spirit, well may have started with Pips tackle on Ronaldo Big Jack said that it was his job to big up the Irish team to perform but what really frightened him was how they bought into it and took it to a higher level than his bullshit even considered, started doing stuff that he didn?t dream they had in them. This is where we are now...

Scott Montgomery
31   Posted 10/02/2009 at 09:58:52

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For me, Tolkiens poem for Aragorn in LOTR sums up what I would love to see happen to Everton:

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

Tony Marsden
32   Posted 10/02/2009 at 11:38:14

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Great article.
Paul Smart summed it up for me, I?m 30 and for the first time as a Blue i can see a dynasty building akin to those of yesteryear I?ve heard so much about!. Of the media beginning to recognise us....

Everton 3-0 Bolton
Soccer Saturday analysis

It has certainly been a good week if you live in the blue half of Merseyside.

After their extra-time victory over Liverpool in the FA Cup in midweek, Everton put in another masterful display to beat Bolton 3-0 in the Premier League on Saturday.

New signing Jo bagged a brace, while Mikel Arteta marked a fine display with a goal from the penalty spot ? and Paul Merson was extremely impressed after watching the game on Soccer Saturday.

"I thought they were a different class," he said.

"That?s as good a performance as I?ve seen in a first half from any Premier League club this season, they were that good.

"It was important to start the game well because of what happened in the week and to keep the feelgood factor up, but I thought they were outstanding.

"Jo was outstanding and Mark Hughes will be pulling his hair out because he looked like a top-drawer player today, a different class. His touch and turn was Bergkamp-like for the goal.

"Arteta was just absolutely outstanding as well. Just class, class."

But while Merson was full of praise for David Moyes?s men, he remains unsure if they can overtake Arsenal in the race for European qualification.

"I still fancy Arsenal to be catching Liverpool and Chelsea," he continued.

"I think Arsenal are capable of going on a run. But you?ve got to hold your hands up because nobody ever says anything about Everton and they are playing very well.

"They were outstanding because Bolton are not a bad team and they really ripped them apart."

Merson added that he was disappointed by Bolton and the way they failed to take advantage of the tired legs in the Everton camp.

"Given that Everton had played extra time and a big game against Liverpool in midweek, they were going to be tired.

"You?d think Bolton would come out and try to steamroller Everton but it was the other way round. They got the fans going and they were always on their side.

"I was disappointed in Bolton. There was a 10-minute spell in the game where they were good and a chance of getting back in it.

"Apart from that, Everton were absolutely outstanding."

He may well be a daft bugger but he knows his stuff.
Karl Masters
33   Posted 10/02/2009 at 12:39:01

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Ray Robinson. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait 24 years for a League title, we can win things in between, but it happens every 24 years just the same.

Get your money on down at the bookies now!

The point I was alludng to is that the way it is going just now, we are actually in a position where even dreaming about winning the League is not utterly pointless. Granted, the head says it’s unlikely, but the gap between the likes of Manure and orselves has closed right up in the last 5 years and who is to say it won’t continue to shrink? December 83 to May 85 shows just how much things can change.
Keith O'Brien
34   Posted 10/02/2009 at 14:25:07

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I am an Irish toffee living over here in Meath, Republic of Ireland and must admit I am getting a really excited buzz in my belly with the lads in blue at the moment. I was at the Arsenal game and was very gutted that they scored so late. So here's to beating Villa in the cup on Sunday and hope my 20/1 bet Everton for cup to finally come true.
Roger Trenwith
35   Posted 10/02/2009 at 15:33:54

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I love this site. Visit it every day for mostly well considered opinions on all things Everton. But there was a time, not that long ago either, when I used to dread my daily visit, as there was always some know-all slagging off Moyes/Kenwright/Hibbert/Neville. You know who you are ? where are you now?
It?s just great the way we?re playing at the moment, and the sense that something good is coming is overwhelming. It reminds me of 83.
I?ll stop now, I?m welling up!

Denis Byrne
36   Posted 10/02/2009 at 16:06:56

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The praise from Lee Dixon and Paul Merson was well spotted by Alan Kirwin and Tony Marsden. This has been backed up by Charlie Nicholas and previously George Graham who have all offered praise to Everton and the development under Moyes. Noticable and a little strange that these Gooners seem to have a soft spot or our club and are happy to break the mould and give the team credit. Anyone have any ideas why this is?
Michael Doran
37   Posted 10/02/2009 at 15:54:53

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It?s been too long since being an Evertonian and an optimist felt comfortable ? but walking out and along Gwladys St last week was the best atmosphere after a game I?d felt in years / decades!

But, no mistakes ? this Sunday is huge.
A win then and I reckon we will win the next 6 PL games on the trot and make Top 4 a real possibility. There I said it.

Arsenal are all over the place and Villa and Chelsea will be doing Europe and PL back to back over the next 2 months.

If only Kenwright could convince one of his wealthy mates to put some dosh our way... an FA Cup win might do the trick... with shades of Watford ?84 (my favourite game).

And Villa have no Barry on Sun, with Heskey and Young injury worries. COYB
Denis Richardson
38   Posted 11/02/2009 at 12:15:26

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Great article, the next 5 games will pretty much decide the league placing. Technically now 5th spot us Uefa but realistically I can see Man U winning the League Cup or one of the top three winning the FA Cup if we don?t (whos getting carried away!).

6th should be enough for the Uefa Cup ? but sod that, if we put a string of 3-4 leagues wins together (very doable with the games coming up), the gap to 4th would have been narrowed somewhat so CL qualification (no matter how remote) is still a possibility.

COYB ? revenge on the Villa on Saturday for thier jammy win!
Neil Alecock
39   Posted 12/02/2009 at 16:21:44

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Nick, good article and I too got the sense of our growing reputation putting Bolton on the back foot. It reminded me of the 80?s when we expected to win every week and were rarely disappointed.

I do however urge some caution as our small squad, however good, can still take casualties and can tire to leave us weakened and follow recent history to fall away. I would love to have the depth of sub bench of the other teams above us ? and some below!

Also, I feel the optimism shown for Dan Gosling is over cooked. Yes, he will always be remembered in a vein to Gareth Farrelly, but I did feel a bit disappointed at times with his technique. Yes he is young and can get better, but he isnt a short term answer as young players are inconsistent and I havent see enough of his yet to be convinced.

Rodwell though looks cool and convincing if at times a bit sideways. Jo hit all the right notes on Saturday but again for me he tired fast and was up against a Bolton side that believed as you pointed out Nick that they were beaten before they arrived. I hope he goes on to show this form against better sides and that we sign him.

We should not though think that the young lads can get us into the CL and then be pissed at them when we don't. Let's be real, hope the squad stays fit and they continue to march relentlessly to the top 4 and FA cup glory.

BTW forget AVD as I think he looks like he needs a rest after his 2 cameos!

Lee Jamieson
40   Posted 13/02/2009 at 12:13:26

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What a fantastic article! I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck and about time as the doom mongers on this website have had me near suicidal. This season it is wide open: the Arse are struggling, Chelski are in turmoil... and everybody is waiting for the Villa bubble to burst. I agree with one of the previous comments that the top two are confirmed but the rest is anybody's guess and I have a gut feeling that someone will sneak in that top four. By the power of any god listening, please let it be the blues!
Nick Carter
41   Posted 17/02/2009 at 00:08:58

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I think we need some "Job 24:22-24" signs in the crowd much like the "John 3:16" ones that pop up at sporting events.

In response to Neil?s tempering of the optimism over Gosling, he seems to me to have the touch of the Cahill about him. He may not be technically great (yet), but even at 18/19 he seems to know where to be and always has multiple efforts on goal. That?s something that most of the league?s players don?t have in their arsenal after years of experience.
Daniel Gibson
42   Posted 17/02/2009 at 21:07:16

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Great article, Nick. I'm a bit of an optimist regarding the blues myself and have always believed in David Moyes & dare I say even BK. My optimism has always been tempered by our financial constraints, but the spirit (and skill) of our current squad is more evident than I can ever remember as a 28-year-old Evertonian.

Writing after the villa game, I can honestly say that only Utd look ahead of us at the moment and if Moysie can keep this team together with just a couple of squad additions... well, need I say more!

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